By Lucia Darnell
Latin America is a part of a world primed for self-storage development. The area includes South and Central America, the Caribbean, and Mexico, all of which have seen an improved economy, cultural changes and an influx of foreign visitors in the last decade. Self-storage is still a relatively new concept in region, and all of these factors are shaping industry development.
The improvement in the economic conditions throughout Latin America has made development a very worthwhile investment for self-storage companies and financiers. One reason is more of the populace is now considered “middle class.” They have some extra money left over after bills, taxes and other necessities are paid. A larger middle class means more small businesses are able to start up and thrive. Both of these groups are great target markets for storage!
An increase in middle-class citizens has also had an impact on living conditions. In the past, extended family members resided together under one roof, for financial reasons and because of tradition. Young, single people could not afford to move out on their own, and it was expected for them to live at home with their parents.
Nowadays, with better financial circumstances, many young adults are moving out of the family home and into newly built high-rise apartments. These affordable residences, however, are extremely small and lack storage space, creating a need for off-site storage rental. Urban areas are even building planned communities that have apartment complexes, retail outlets and storage facilities all within close proximity to each another.
More expendable income among the middle class allows small-business owners to flourish. Many have found they’ve outgrown the available storage in their home or small workspace. Instead of moving into a larger house or paying for an expensive office, it’s often more economical to rent off-site space to store their supplies and goods. Storage facilities are now catering to this niche by leasing workspace specifically designed for entrepreneurs. Small-business owners have access to their own climate-controlled “office” with fax machines, copiers and Wi-Fi. And, of course, they’re in close proximity to their storage space!
A change in cultural and religious views has played a large part in the increased need for self-storage development in Latin America. In these primarily Catholic nations, single people traditionally lived with their parents until marriage not only because of financial constraints but for religious reasons. Cultural views are changing, and many singles are moving out of the family home into their own apartment. From there, some move in with their partner before marriage, making temporary storage useful until further plans can be made.